Most countertop options can be used for just about any application such as kitchens, baths, bartops, etc. The majority of my projects are built with solid surface or laminate. The cost of solid surface countertops has dropped drastically in the last few years and as become a very affordable counter option. I have used natural stone materials in several projects such as granite, sillstone, marble, and quartz. I do not have the large machinery necessary to build these tops so I cannot build them myself. Therefore I use a sub-contractor for my natural stone counters. Unfortunately that means market price for my customers which is usually around 35% more than solid surface.
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Benefits of solid surface countertops
• Non-porous material so it will not stain
• Very durable surface - but if scratched, it can be easily sanded out even by homeowner
• Molded sink makes for a seamless transition from counter to sink bowl.
• Never needs sealed (stone materials need sealed every 4 months).
• Invisible seams (if seaming is necessary)
• Many new colors available that closely resemble natural stone counters
• Can be built with a wide variety of edge details
Laminates have come a long way over the past few years. Many new colors and textures are now available. Wilsonart introduced the new HD series laminates in 2005 and they are becoming quite popular. The Wilonart HD is a textured laminate available in many stone style colors. Bevel edging is another fairly new item that gives the laminate edge a more attractive profile. Laminates are still the most affordable countertop option. Click on the links below to see the various textures and colors of laminates with the various manufacturers.
Deciding on the right countertop material and color is a crucial decision when building a new kitchen or vanity. I offer several styles of countertop materials with a wide variety of edge profiles and finishes. A large number of my kitchens are build with solid surface countertops. Solid surface provides a very durable surface that never needs sealing. It is very difficult to scratch but it can be sanded out if a scratch occurs. Most often this is something a homeowner can do themselves while simply cleaning the counter with water and a scotch brite pad. Many edge profiles are available for solid surface giving the counter a nice detail. Solid surface also offers surperior seams compared to laminate or natural stone products.They are usually impossible for the homeowner to find once installed. I offer solid surface from several manufacturers giving the customer a wide variety of color choices. Many new color closely resemble granite or natural stone products. Wilsonart offers a "earthstone" solid surface that is very much like a natural granite and is very popular and affordable.
Laminate countertop materials have come a long way in recent years. Wilsonart came out with it's HD series in 2005 and it has become quite popular. Formica brand followed with their version of a high definition laminate. These laminates come in many colors that simulate stone/granite. Several finishes are also available giving the surface various textures. The textures (finishes) make the laminate seem more like real natural stone and helps resist scratches.
There are also many natural stone products available such as granite, sillstone, marble, and quartz. I do not have the extremely expensive CNC machinery necessary to work with these materials so I must sub-contract out this service. Unfortunately for the homeowner that means I must charge market price for this type of countertop. One thing to consider with stone products is the maintenance involved with them. Granite and stone products are porous by nature and must be sealed every 6 months to prevent staining. These products also have obvious seams when jointing two pieces.